Connor Wickham was a second half substitute in Saturday’s pre-season friendly against Reading as he made his first appearance at senior level since suffering a knee injury in November 2016.
With eighteen minutes of the match remaining the 25 year old took the field to great applause from the Palace following in the Madejski Stadium and the striker revealed after just how much it meant to him to be part of the 4-0 win.
“I nearly got a bit emotional; it has been a long time coming. It has been the hardest period of my career but is something I can learn from but I have missed being out there so much, you just don’t realise how much until you get the chance to get back into the action.
“I felt good, sharp and strong so hopefully I can just stay injury free for the remainder of pre-season and go into the new campaign fully fit."
Wickham was part of the pre-season tour to Scandinavia and even though he trained with the squad he wasn’t part of any of the matches but he is now pleased to look forward having been given the green light to play.
“I think I have been wrapped up in cotton wool a bit but I can look back on it now and say I have been through the hardest time of my career and thankfully I am now back out on the pitch which is good for me and the rest of the boys as well.”
His focus now is about the new season ahead and being part of Roy Hodgson’s plans for Palace’s top flight campaign starting in less than two weeks with the opening day trip to Fulham.
“I need to get more game time under my belt and show the manager what I am capable of, I have been out for a long period and just need to prove what I can do and how I can get on is only down to me.”
Watch the highlights of the victory and post-match interviews now or on the app go to Palace TV and into the video section.